Going to The Dentist with Allergies

Originally posted on Adults with Allergies Blog:

Dentist

Note: The following advice is simply that: advice. It is not to be substituted for professional advice from your dentist. It is, rather, intended to serve as a general reminder to help you work with your dentist and/or other dental professionals to aid in safe experiences at the dentist.

Going to the dentist is an experience most people try to avoid. I know this because I’m a dental student and my patients are never shy to remind me of this. Usually, a dentist will ask you to fill out a health questionnaire before seeing you. This is where you should write down any allergies you have. A few common ones that are important for your dentist to know include (but are not limited to):

  • Antibiotics (e.g. penicillin, sulfonamides). A dentist might prescribe you antibiotics if you have a tooth ache and need a root canal, or if you just had a…

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8 Creative Allergy Advantages

Allergy Concept

Allergy Concept

Hi. I’m Harrison, an 18 year old university student allergic to eggs, dairy, soy, all nuts, all seafood, apples, cherries, and pears. If you count, that’s 8 allergies, so I decided to create the 8 creative allergy advantages list!

1.     Responsibility

When I was 7, I never forgot a toy at a restaurant, to tie my shoes, or to bring my homework while other kids my age left stuff all over the place. What was different for me? My auto-injector taught me responsibility; when I was 9. I was already remembering to bring it everywhere, and had the responsibility of telling my teachers I couldn’t eat their treats.

2.     You can’t eat many foods

Why is that an advantage you say? Because I don’t need to figure out what I’m going to eat or spend time or money trying new foods or recipes; I just eat the same 20 or so things over and over with small variations. As a result, I’ve gotten so good that I can even impress friends and my parents by cooking for them!

3.     Conversation-ing (because that’s a word)

Want to talk to someone? Here’s an example of how I do it. Just wait until your target is eating (should be easy because people eat all the time)

Harrison: What’s that?

Really pretty person who I want to talk to: It’s my lunch, its macaroni and cheese.

Harrison: Cool. Does it taste good? I wouldn’t know, I’m allergic.

Pretty person: Oh my gosh I’m sorry, should I not be eating this in front of you?

There you go, conversation. Do I want them to take pity on me, or do I want to be confident that I love myself? It’s all up to me, and that’s awesome.

4.     Familiarity with restaurants

The 2 or 3 restaurants I go to, I go to ALL THE TIME. I even know the waiters by name there, and when they come up to serve me they say “Hi Harrison!”, and then I just go “Hi (waiter’s name)! The usual please”, and BAM, there’s no non-allergy person who can order as fast as I can!

5.     Empathy

Having food allergies lets you relate and share something in common with other people with dietary restrictions, for example food sensitivities, diabetes, vegans, or lactose intolerance. From there you can share common experiences, tips, stories, and in some cases that’s how I met some of my best friends today!

6.     YOU GET TO BE PART OF YAP. I MEAN JUST LOOK AT ALL THESE AWESOME PEOPLE AND BLOG POSTS. NEED I SAY MORE?!?!?!?

7.     Character building.

Imagine a family vacation to Mexico where you’ll meet over 40 of your family members, half of which you don’t know, none of which have food allergies. And then imagine a careless cross-contamination incident at the restaurant and going to the hospital while these relatives are watching you, some not even knowing you had food allergies in the first place, some not even speaking English! Yeah, that was me.

I really learned to own and not be ashamed of my allergies in Mexico because I couldn’t hide what happened, so instead I came out of that hospital saying ‘Yeah it was an allergic reaction. I’ll talk to the chef about it next time. I’m ok now, no worries. Can we still go snorkelling please?’

8.     It’s you

Do you have someone you love so much that even with their negative traits (that you complain about to all your other friends) you wouldn’t want them any other way? Yep, that’s how I bet other people see you too! And sure I’m allergic to a lot, and sometimes I blow it out of proportion, but at the end of the day I’m glad it’s a part of me not only because there are 8 creative advantages, but because it’s me, and I love me and wouldn’t want me any other way.

 

Calling Winnipeg Teens with Food Allergy

Winnipeg Lounge

The Children’s Allergy & Asthma Education Centre (CAAEC), Winnipeg, Manitoba invites teens ages 12-16 years with food allergy to the Allergy Lounge. Join us to connect, learn and share with other teens with food allergy. Join us Thursday,

February 26th , 2015 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm and April 30, 2015 at the CAAEC at 685 William Avenue. This is a free event. Participants can enter to win a $50 Movie pass.

Call 204-787-4116 or email caaec@hsc.mb.ca to register.

2015 Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award – Now Accepting Applications

2014-Sabrina-Shannon-Award-Banner

Anaphylaxis Canada is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the sixth annual Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award.

This award is dedicated to Sabrina Shannon, an inspiring teenager who suffered a fatal anaphylactic reaction in 2003. During her life, Sabrina helped to raise awareness about food allergy by creating a first-person radio documentary, “A Nutty Tale,” which aired on CBC Radio in 2001. Since her passing, Sabrina’s parents and other members of the allergy community have kept Sabrina’s spirit alive by advocating for allergy-aware school environments. In 2005, Sabrina’s Law was passed in Ontario, resulting in landmark legislation that has influenced school anaphylaxis policies across Canada.

Two awards of $1,000 each will be granted to students entering their first year or continuing their studies at a post-secondary institution.

Applications will be evaluated on a submission essay which describes the student’s efforts to raise awareness about severe allergies and anaphylaxis in their schools or communities.

The application form can be downloaded from Anaphylaxis Canada’s youth website http://www.whyriskit.ca. All applications must be submitted by June 19th, 2015.

Read about our 2014 award winners Sydney Harris, and Katherine Li and their accomplishments in raising allergy awareness in their communities.

For more information, please contact Anaphylaxis Canada at 1-866-785-5660 or info@anaphylaxis.ca. Award funded by a grant from TD Securities.

Anaphylaxis Canada

Teen Allergy Event in Winnipeg

Winnipeg Lounge

The Children’s Allergy & Asthma Education Centre (CAAEC), Winnipeg, Manitoba invites teens ages 12-16 years with food allergy to the Allergy Lounge. Join us to connect, learn and share with other teens with food allergy. Join us Thursday,

February 26th , 2015 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm and April 30, 2015 at the CAAEC at 685 William Avenue. This is a free event. Participants can enter to win a $50 Movie pass.

Call 204-787-4116 or email caaec@hsc.mb.ca to register.

Congratulations to the 2014 Recipients of the Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award

Anaphylaxis Canada would like to congratulate the recipients of the fifth annual Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award: Sydney Harris (Barrie, ON) and Katherine Li (Calgary, AB). Sydney and Katherine were selected from a total of 88 applicants for their demonstrated commitment to raising awareness and educating others about severe allergies.

Sydney HSydney is 18 years old and will be entering her first year of a pre-health sciences program at Georgian College, Ontario. Since being diagnosed with food allergies at age 13, she has actively raised allergy awareness at her school through presentations for her classmates, and by providing anaphylaxis training to her high school teachers. She has also maintained a blog -“A Tale of Anaphylaxis”- where she provides tips and support for other teens with food allergies. Sydney has also been an active member of Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel for which she has written educational articles, exhibited at health fairs, and developed and delivered various conference presentations. Sydney was also a mentor in the first Allergy Pals Online Mentorship Program in 2014.

Katherine LKatherine is 19 years old and starting her second year of studies at McGill University, Quebec, where she is a part of the McGill Student Emergency Response Team (M-SERT). She has helped treat anaphylactic reactions on campus and educated fellow students on recognizing symptoms of anaphylaxis. Although she does not have food allergies herself, her interest in the condition led her to seek a two month summer internship at Dr. Wayne Shreffler’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases and Food Allergy Research Center. There she gained first-hand lab and clinical knowledge on oral immunotherapy treatment among other research.

Anaphylaxis Canada would like to thank all of the award applicants for their initiative, creativity, and commitment to raising allergy awareness and educating others in their communities. We received many excellent applications from across the country, and selecting recipients was not an easy task.

The Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award is dedicated to the life of Sabrina Shannon, an inspiring teenager who suffered a fatal anaphylactic reaction in 2003. During her life, Sabrina worked to raise allergy awareness by creating the first-person radio documentary, “A Nutty Tale,” which aired on CBC radio in 2001. Since her passing, Sabrina’s parents and other members of the allergy community have kept her spirit alive by advocating for allergy-safe schools and communities. In 2005, Sabrina’s Law was passed in Ontario, providing landmark legislation that has influenced anaphylaxis policies in schools across Canada.

We are proud to honour Sabrina’s memory with this award and the Sabrina Shannon Legacy Fund.

 

The Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award is made possible through an educational grant from TD Securities.

 

An unexpected Hospital visit

The last thing I expected to find myself doing on a Saturday night was sitting in the emergency room of the Children’s Hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The thing is, I’m not even from St. John’s. I’m here for a month long summer program at Memorial University, where my day is planned to the minute and this was definitely not scheduled! So what happened?

It was Indian food night (my favourite!) I LOVE spicy food but I’m always very careful when ordering it to avoid menu items with nuts, since I’m allergic. I also make a point of letting the staff know about the severity of my allergies. This time however, it wasn’t me doing the ordering. The food had been catered, and I checked with the program staff to ensure nothing contained nuts, which they assured me was indeed the case.

There were no labels on any of the foods so I had no idea what I actually ate, apart from lots of Naan bread. Something didn’t agree with me and I felt it immediately. My throat felt thick and weird, but I just attributed that to the effect of the spices in the food. I tried to calm myself down because I was assured there weren’t any nuts in the food and I trusted the word of the program staff.

When I got back to my room a little while later, I didn’t feel any better. In fact, I felt worse: nauseous and bloated. After telling one of the program assistants how I was feeling, I took an anti-histamine and decided to lie down. After about an hour, I began to feel itchy and realized I was developing hives. At this point, I still had not given myself my auto-injector because the reaction wasn’t one I was prepared for. I have always been told to be aware of an itchy tongue and swelling of the lips, but I didn’t have either of these symptoms, which threw me off. Eventually, one of my friends came to check on me and told the program assistants that I did not look good. They quickly took me to the hospital across the street where it turns out I was, in fact, having an allergic reaction. To what? Who knows! The doctors in the emergency room gave me an IV of anti-histamine, a steroid, and a medication to calm the nausea. I felt better almost immediately and watched as my hives slowly disappeared. The doctor said that in retrospect, I should have given myself my auto-injector because by the time I would have felt like I was actually having an allergic reaction, it may have been too late for me to do it myself.

I learned a lot from this experience, even though I thought I knew everything there was for a teen to know about her allergies. The truth is, every reaction is different, and some take hours to progress – like mine that night. On top of that, they don’t always have the same symptoms. I’ve always had an itchy tongue when having an allergic reaction, but not that night. What I know now is that it is absolutely vital to ALWAYS carry your auto-injector with you, and to ALWAYS wear your MedicAlert bracelet. More importantly, ALWAYS go to the hospital if you don’t feel right, especially after eating a suspicious food. And don’t worry – I felt no pain from my treatment at the hospital, only relief, so there is no need to be scared of what will happen to you there. The medical professionals will save your life, which is a feeling that is incomparable!

As for Indian food, I’ll probably stay away from it for a while, but I don’t want this incident to stop me from living a full life. It just reminds me to always be alert for my allergens, and to listen to my body when it’s telling me something isn’t right. I still enjoy Indian food, but now I know that it is a possible trigger for me and I must be extra careful when ordering it.

I hope that by sharing my experience it will remind you to always take your allergies seriously and get to the hospital when necessary. I stayed calm through the entire experience and tried to think rationally – this can really help when you’re unsure about whether you’re having a reaction or not. Never let anyone tell you that you’re just being panicky either – if YOU think you’re having an allergic reaction, then you need to get to the hospital, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Stay safe everyone!

Hannah L.